A Wholesome Guide to Winter Soups With Bowlfuls of Benefits

<span class="caption">A Guide to Winter Soups With Bowlfuls of Benefits</span>
A Guide to Winter Soups With Bowlfuls of Benefits

1) MAN OF THE BROTH

There are few things finer than a bowl of steaming soup and crusty bread on a cold winter’s day. Yet many of us still sell ourselves short with a lifeless can of cream of tomato. Armed with these recipes from the Tennants Arms in the Yorkshire Dales (thetennantsarms.co.uk), not only can you batch-cook a week’s worth of macros and micros, you’ll warm your cockles when the prospect of yet another Pret sandwich for lunch leaves you cold. It’s time you grabbed better health by the bowls.


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CHICKEN
This protein powerhouse needs little introduction. But it’s not just about building muscle. Use the bones and offcuts to make stock, which contains glycosaminoglycans. These support collagen production, ensuring your joints are well oiled under a heavy load.


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BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Squash is rich in alpha- and beta-carotene, antioxidants that deactivate free radicals. Studies show a carotenoid-rich diet can help reduce your pancreatic cancer risk. Most importantly, it makes a tasty soup.

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PEARL BARLEY
Don’t let this fibre-rich grain gather dust in your cupboard. It helps balance your gut bacteria and promotes good digestive health – crucial factors in firing up your metabolism and accelerating your weight-loss efforts.


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CLAMS
These mighty molluscs are rich in vitamin B12 and iron, which play a key role in the production of red blood cells and maintaining energy levels. Gram for gram, they contain 60 times more of the former and 15 times more of the latter than lean beef.

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2) LIQUID ASSETS

Soup is the ultimate one-pot wonder, so invest in a worthy and sizeable stockpot for big batches (£100 lakeland.co.uk). Pick up a hand blender (£199 lakeland.co.uk) and you’re pretty much good to go. Make prepping your veg easier by using an extra-sharp peeler (£4 victorinox.co.uk). A heavy-duty roasting tin (£130 uk.zwilling-shop.com) will help impart flavour to your ingredients before you blitz them. So far, so easy. To streamline the process even further, you can invest in an all-in-one machine that sautées, blends and heats your soup, ready for serving (£100 lakeland.co.uk). If you don’t want to risk a major spillage on your commute to work, transport your soup in a stainless steel container (£16 kleankanteen.co.uk) – as a bonus, it’s easy clean and won’t be stained a weird red hue after one go. Just don’t let it get pinched from the office kitchen.

3) SUPER BOWLS

Whether you’re tired of your boring al-desko lunch or seeking to scale up your veg intake, batch-cooking homemade soup is a comforting, cost-effective answer to your winter woes. Let these recipes fuel your final push towards spring.

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A) MUSCLE UP CHICKEN & BEETROOT

Serves 6

  • Chicken breasts, 3

  • Garlic cloves, 2

  • A white onion

  • Celery stalks, 2

  • Beetroots, 3

  • A large carrot

  • Olive oil, 1tbsp

  • Powdered ginger, 1tbsp

  • Chicken stock, 350ml

Method
Prep and dice your garlic, onion, celery, beetroot and carrot. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then sweat the vegetables and ginger for five minutes until tender. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Blitz in a food processor. Meanwhile, pan-fry the chicken until cooked, then shred with two forks. Return the soup to the saucepan and add the chicken. Stir, season and serve.

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B) IMMUNITY SQUASH & RED PEPPER

Serves 6

  • A butternut squash

  • Red peppers, 5

  • A sweet potato

  • A white onion

  • Five-spice, 1tsp

  • Cumin, 1tsp

  • Vegetable stock, 300ml

  • A sprig of rosemary

Method
Cover the peppers with foil and oven-roast at 160°C for 25 minutes. Peel and dice the squash, sweet potato and onion. Sweat the onion in an oiled pan until soft, then add the sweet potato, squash, five-spice and cumin. Cook for five minutes. Add the stock and red peppers, then simmer for 35 minutes. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Return to the saucepan, season and top off with scattered rosemary.

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C) LEAN BARLEY AND BEAN

Serves 6

  • Pre-cooked pearl barley, 100g

  • Garlic cloves, 4

  • White onions, 2

  • A celery stalk

  • Carrots, 2

  • A sprig of rosemary

  • Chopped tomatoes, 400g

  • Vegetable stock, 350ml

  • Pre-cooked white beans, 100g

  • Fresh basil, 3 sprigs

Method
Prep and dice your garlic, onion, celery and carrots. Heat some oil in a saucepan, then sweat the vegetables for five minutes until tender. Add the rosemary and tomatoes and simmer for a further five minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, then add the pearl barley and white beans. Blitz in a food processor for a smooth soup, or leave it as it is for a chunky broth. Top with fresh basil, season and serve.

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D) ENERGISING CLAM CHOWDER

Serves 6

  • Clams, 1kg

  • Pancetta, 120g

  • A white onion

  • Celery stalks, 2

  • Garlic cloves, 2

  • Fish stock, 1L

  • Dry white wine, 60ml

  • Maris Piper potatoes, 450g

  • Thyme, 1½tsp

  • Bay leaves, 2

  • Double cream, 200ml

  • Parsley, 3tbsp

Method
Cover the clams with a litre of cold water and boil. After 10 minutes, extract the meat and chop. Fry the pancetta, then remove. Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in butter. Add the stock and wine, then the potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and half of the pancetta. Simmer for 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Blitz a quarter of the soup, then mix in with the rest. Add the clams, cream and parsley. Heat through and serve with the remaining pancetta on top.

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